Living as an EoC Enterprise

by Mose Park

I am an artist belonging to a cooperative which is practicing EoC principles. Around 6 years ago, I moved into my current workshop located in a small alley in Daegu City. This alley has been the workplace for many makers of handmade shoes for more than 100 years. There were around 40 elderly craftsmen who had been making shoes in a dilapidated environment for their entire lives. 

I learned that their dream was to train people so that they may pass on their experiences and techniques about making shoes by hand to the next generation.  Since then, I became preoccupied with how we can make their dream come true. 

Following consultation with the shoemakers, our cooperative first developed a training program setting out the shoemaking process and the relevant curriculums. After having developed the training program, we sought financial assistance from government institutes to fulfil their dream. 

Fortunately, we were able to set up a national project and received the support not only for the financial aids for the modernized equipment, but also for the space for training classes. Later, we successfully established the Academy for crafting handmade shoes consisting of a 40 week-long curriculum, thus fulfilling the collective dream of elderly craftsmen.

This achievement was brought about through close collaboration with young social ventures in tourism, cooperative of artists, village enterprises as well as social enterprises. In addition, we were also awarded the investment project sponsored by a large conglomerate which is interested in reviving and promoting the values of local districts. 

At present, we are receiving numerous requests from other local government offices which wish to initiate their own projects for revitalizing local markets economically and for reviving old neighborhoods through regeneration and development of local contents. 

Last year, we were selected by the Ministry of Culture and Tourism as one of Korea’s top 10 agencies for promoting local tourism, and thereafter, we collaborated closely with a local tour company which was having difficulties because of the effects of COVID-19 pandemic. Our cooperative hired the employees who had been laid off by this tour company, and we later ended up sharing our work space with the company. Now, our two entities are growing together by complementing and supplementing each other, thereby making our strengths even stronger and refining our weaknesses in an atmosphere where we are virtually one entity and one family. 

In the beginning, we started with merely 3 employees in our cooperative, but since then we have grown 3 times in terms of revenue and number of employees wanting to help vulnerable social groups. Furthermore, the number of local young entrepreneurs who like to work with us is increasing.

Chiara left to the EoC enterprises the legacy of common good through mutual sharing without any consideration in return. The world did not believe that such EoC principle could be implemented in the actual business operations.   

However, to those enterprises that believe that the foremost reason for the existence of an enterprise is not profit making, but forming human relationships based on sharing – to those enterprises that believe this principle creates worthwhile values for our society, each day is a miracle full of God’s providence.

Thank you.

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